Which Synth for Polishing

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I'm starting to get into polishing as the next step in my sharpening journey. I got some awasedo powder and some uchi fingerstones, but would like to get some stones to get the ground work a little tighter. I tried to buy the King 800 and JNS 6000 that was on the BST, which got shipped, but returned to sender because the tsubaki oil in the package leaked. Seller has been MIA ever since, unfortunately. So, I was all hyped up to get these and now looking at my retail options to fulfill that burning itch to have some new stones in my arsenal.

I'll still get a King 800, being so cheap. For the high grit I'm torn between Morihei 6K, Gesshin 6K, JNS 6K, and JNS Red Aoto. Reading through past threads doesn't really help that much, so many contrasting opinions. Maybe it doesn't matter as it sounds like they are all great with their own strengths and weaknesses, like everything, but thought I throw another "which 6k stone to get" thread out there to see what comes back. Not really ready to fully head down the Jnat hole just yet, FWIW.

For reference, what I currently have in my stone arsenal is Shapton 120, King 300 (permasoaked), NP400/800/3000, a smallish Nakayama Kiita Koppa (from a very generous KKF member), and the aforementioned awasedo powder (aframes) and some finger stones (uchigumori from aframes and some ohira awasedo).
 
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I’m a big fan of the Shapton glass stones as far as synthetics go. Small and easy to store, true splash and go, very consistent scratch patterns, slow to dish, and relatively quick. They might not be the best feeling and they can leave streaky finishes at higher grits if you aren’t careful, but they’re my choice for the most well rounded synthetic clan. I typically start with either the 220 or 500, depending on what the project is, and go 500>1000>2000>4000 and then jump to naturals. Haven’t used the 6k, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work here as the scratch pattern should be more than fine enough that finger-stones or stone powder should pretty easily be able to finesse everything from there.

That said, there are others here with much deeper and broader stone experience than I so hopefully some others can chime in and offer their $0.02.
 

adam92

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May I know your goal is create mirror polish? If you're looking for mirror polish might be worth to try Naniwa Snow White 8k, I'm getting very good result with this stone.
 

Kawa

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I personally asociate the term 'polishing' with getting a shiny gloss, but that might be a language-thingy.

If you want to achieve that: Naniwa superstones.

Don't look even further. They are cheap and extremely good in giving a high mirror gloss.
For example, the superstone 2000 will allready give a gloss comparable to many 8000 gritt stones (kitayama for example)





If you mean 'contrast' or looking for some kind of hazy finish with polishing, dont go for superstones.
 

Pie

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If a mirror finish is what you’re after Naniwa super stone 5k is a beast. You can get the thin one fairly cheap.

@Kawa said it better than I.

One thing to take note of.. is how you polish. If you go from low grit to high for kasumi, or if you go all the way up to mirror then step back down to create contrast.

For the first method, you don’t need the super stone unless you want an unnatural mirror finish core. For the second method, this stone is the key to make a super clean starting point.
 

Thpp9

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I am a noob polisher myself. I've polished my knives like 5-6 times so take my comment with a grain of salt.

We have talked a bit on Reddit on a post I made about backers for stone powder. I know you hate the Np3k, but imo if you practice a bit you can achieve pretty decent finishes. I've used it as a final stone in my progression as well and I didn't notice any problem in cutting actual ingredients.

I usually jump from King 1k to NP3k and then to Morihei Karasu 9k with relatively good results for my skill level. I find both of them creating a decent contrast between hard and soft steel. The Karasu has finer scratch pattern, as expected, core steel is pretty mirrorish and leaves a gray soft steel. Overall it's easier to work with Karasu than the NP3k, which is pretty easy to burnish and streak in my experience.

Here are some photos from Np3k and Karasu finishes:



Here is another post from @mrmoves92 finishing his Wakui on Morihei Karasu:

 

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I personally asociate the term 'polishing' with getting a shiny gloss, but that might be a language-thingy.

If you want to achieve that: Naniwa superstones.

Don't look even further. They are cheap and extremely good in giving a high mirror gloss.
For example, the superstone 2000 will allready give a gloss comparable to many 8000 gritt stones (kitayama for example)





If you mean 'contrast' or looking for some kind of hazy finish with polishing, dont go for superstones.


Interesting... I tend to use the word 'polish' more generally, and usually in my case for contrast kasumi-type finishes. But as you say, there are surely no better synths for mirror polishes than the SS.

---

OP - for kasumi polishes the the King 800 is pretty much a must, it's a wonderful stone. I personally found the JNS Red Aoto a little tricky to use. SGs leave quite light scratch patterns but not good-looking finishes, so you'd want other stones after.

I'm sure you've seen his thread, but maybe @inferno could weigh in here with his thoughts, as he probably has as much knowledge about this as the rest of us put together! I think he rates the Suehiro 8k quite highly...

(And lastly... for a very reasonably priced and easy to use kasumi stone I would also recommend Belgian Blue Whetstone. Not a synth, but the same kinda price, and very good indeed. Puts some jnats to shame.)
 

TB_London

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Naniwa superstones are the og polishing stones. You want something softer, slower cutting that slurries well to avoid the faceted look you’ll get off anything hard and fast cutting
 
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Interesting... I tend to use the word 'polish' more generally, and usually in my case for contrast kasumi-type finishes. But as you say, there are surely no better synths for mirror polishes than the SS.

---

OP - for kasumi polishes the the King 800 is pretty much a must, it's a wonderful stone. I personally found the JNS Red Aoto a little tricky to use. SGs leave quite light scratch patterns but not good-looking finishes, so you'd want other stones after.

I'm sure you've seen his thread, but maybe @inferno could weigh in here with his thoughts, as he probably has as much knowledge about this as the rest of us put together! I think he rates the Suehiro 8k quite highly...

(And lastly... for a very reasonably priced and easy to use kasumi stone I would also recommend Belgian Blue Whetstone. Not a synth, but the same kinda price, and very good indeed. Puts some jnats to shame.)
Thanks. When I say polishing I definitely mean kasumi, not mirror. Just bought the King 800 and Gesshin 6K. Will see how it goes. I might try one of those Belgian Blues one of these days too. Do you use it as a S&G, short soak, or permasoak?
 

inferno

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high grit naniwa ss and shapton pros/glass are good for mirror polishing.
also naniwa hibikis, juumas and the 2k pink imanishi bester.

to get good contrast without any silver streaks the best ones i've found are:
imanishi bester 400 (blue), but this one is really too coarse, its like a rasp.
shapton pro 1k (these don't crack)
naniwa pro 800 (these can crack)
naniwa pro 2k. here the rasp effect stops. almost identical finish to my uchigumori. this is a very good finish imo.

the good high grit ones i've tried:
suehiro cerax/traditional 8k (white) there are some silver streaks here. beware.
suehiro traditional green 8k (silicon carbide), same as the white one except it leaves no silver streaks in the finish.
both of these are soakers.

the green one leaves a finish that is almost identical to the morihei karasu 9k. and that one is splash and go.
but its a bit like cheating since they made it with crushed up jnat.

morihei 12k not so good imo. slightly better than the imanishi 10k though, for kasumi.
not really good for mirror polishing and not really good for kasumi either imo.

imanishi 10k does create some light haze, i like this one for stainless monos but not for clad blades.
its quite muddy. its easy to get a nice finish on ss. that is easy to replicate over and over when its gets scratched.

shapton pro 12k. mirror, but not as much mirror as:
naniwa ss 12k. as good as it gets for mirror finishes imo, from a 12k that is. you can still see scratches.

gokumyo 20k one step up from the naniwa 12k at 3-4x the cost :)
 

cotedupy

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high grit naniwa ss and shapton pros/glass are good for mirror polishing.
also naniwa hibikis, juumas and the 2k pink imanishi bester.

to get good contrast without any silver streaks the best ones i've found are:
imanishi bester 400 (blue), but this one is really too coarse, its like a rasp.
shapton pro 1k (these don't crack)
naniwa pro 800 (these can crack)
naniwa pro 2k. here the rasp effect stops. almost identical finish to my uchigumori. this is a very good finish imo.

the good high grit ones i've tried:
suehiro cerax/traditional 8k (white) there are some silver streaks here. beware.
suehiro traditional green 8k (silicon carbide), same as the white one except it leaves no silver streaks in the finish.
both of these are soakers.

the green one leaves a finish that is almost identical to the morihei karasu 9k. and that one is splash and go.
but its a bit like cheating since they made it with crushed up jnat.

morihei 12k not so good imo. slightly better than the imanishi 10k though, for kasumi.
not really good for mirror polishing and not really good for kasumi either imo.

imanishi 10k does create some light haze, i like this one for stainless monos but not for clad blades.
its quite muddy. its easy to get a nice finish on ss. that is easy to replicate over and over when its gets scratched.

shapton pro 12k. mirror, but not as much mirror as:
naniwa ss 12k. as good as it gets for mirror finishes imo, from a 12k that is. you can still see scratches.

gokumyo 20k one step up from the naniwa 12k at 3-4x the cost :)


When you say 'silver streaks' do you mean like when the stone kinda starts burnishing the cladding slightly? Like you sometimes get with harder, higher grit stones...?
 

inferno

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i mean the thin bright silver scratches that some stones produces in the gray hazy finish.
some stones produce a lot of these and some stones very few or none.

ouka for example produce a lot while the naniwa pro 2k produce almost none.

it looks like a scratched kasumi finish. most naturals dont produce these scratches during "normal use".
 

KingShapton

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When you say 'silver streaks' do you mean like when the stone kinda starts burnishing the cladding slightly? Like you sometimes get with harder, higher grit stones...?
I assume you are talking about an observed effect of natural stones? In that case I have an explanation, at least I think so. I believe that when we talk about very fine and very hard natural stones, these stones (at least some) are harder than the metal of the claddings from a certain fineness. This in turn means that you have to be really careful with pressure - too much pressure can easily scratch the claddings. This effect can be mitigated or avoided by using Nagura stones or creating slurry with a diamond plate.

I am only speaking from my own observations and considerations here, I cannot rule out that I am completely wrong, so take it with a grain of salt.
 

Pie

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High grit synthetic has been a challenge for me to get a good kasumi with, the only stone in my (limited) experience is Kitayama 8k. It can be done, but mud management needs to be pretty tight to avoid those streaks.

I’ll be honest, if I’m going for near mirror kasumi, I SS5k the heck out of the whole damn thing, core and cladding, and step back down to a soft jnat or muddied Naniwa pro to create the haze. Working a haze up the whole progression is incredibly difficult for me, be it streaking or grit contamination.

Just come over to the dark side.. grab a squishy soft Hideriyama and auto-kasumi everything you touch 😉.
 
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Yeah. The kitayama has the potential to work well, but you really need to be familiar with the stone. For me the key, was keeping the slurry very hydrated.
 
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High grit synthetic has been a challenge for me to get a good kasumi with, the only stone in my (limited) experience is Kitayama 8k. It can be done, but mud management needs to be pretty tight to avoid those streaks.

I’ll be honest, if I’m going for near mirror kasumi, I SS5k the heck out of the whole damn thing, core and cladding, and step back down to a soft jnat or muddied Naniwa pro to create the haze. Working a haze up the whole progression is incredibly difficult for me, be it streaking or grit contamination.

Just come over to the dark side.. grab a squishy soft Hideriyama and auto-kasumi everything you touch 😉.
I’ll get over to the dark side eventually, I’m sure.
 
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If you skip spending money on synthetics at the start you have more money left for naturals. Embrace the rabbit hole.
This way I have them to try out, then can sell them if I need cash to enter that hole. But who am I kidding, I probably won't sell them. I'll just spend more money.
 

Pie

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This way I have them to try out, then can sell them if I need cash to enter that hole. But who am I kidding, I probably won't sell them. I'll just spend more money.
🤣 at least you’ll never end up regretting selling one of them!
 

Forty Ounce

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I'm starting to get into polishing as the next step in my sharpening journey. I got some awasedo powder and some uchi fingerstones, but would like to get some stones to get the ground work a little tighter. I tried to buy the King 800 and JNS 6000 that was on the BST, which got shipped, but returned to sender because the tsubaki oil in the package leaked. Seller has been MIA ever since, unfortunately. So, I was all hyped up to get these and now looking at my retail options to fulfill that burning itch to have some new stones in my arsenal.

I'll still get a King 800, being so cheap. For the high grit I'm torn between Morihei 6K, Gesshin 6K, JNS 6K, and JNS Red Aoto. Reading through past threads doesn't really help that much, so many contrasting opinions. Maybe it doesn't matter as it sounds like they are all great with their own strengths and weaknesses, like everything, but thought I throw another "which 6k stone to get" thread out there to see what comes back. Not really ready to fully head down the Jnat hole just yet, FWIW.

For reference, what I currently have in my stone arsenal is Shapton 120, King 300 (permasoaked), NP400/800/3000, a smallish Nakayama Kiita Koppa (from a very generous KKF member), and the aforementioned awasedo powder (aframes) and some finger stones (uchigumori from aframes and some ohira awasedo).
Arashiyama 6k, permasoaked
 

Forty Ounce

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Already went with Gesshin 6K, which will be permasoaked. Couldn’t decide between Gesshin, JNS, or Morihei. Went with Gesshin because it looks cool, people seem to like it, happy to support Jon’s shop, and only $75. 🤷🏼‍♂️
Good choice. That's the stone I bought to replace my arashiyama.. still have a couple mm to go through before it goes into service.
 
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